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AU REVOIR, AU REVOIR, LIFE GOES ON: QUEBEC DEALS WITH LOSS
Published May 26, 1995
In Quebec City, only "a handful" of fans protested outside of the hotel where the deal was announced. Most blamed the failure of the team on team President Marcel Aubut rather than Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau, who refused to give in to demands for a new arena (CP/Hamilton SPECTATOR). Parizeau was clearly angry about the move. As he left a meeting yesterday, he "snapped": "I have more important things to deal with than Mr. Aubut's every little twitch" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/26). Meanwhile, writers across Canada mourned the loss of the team and its tradition: GLOBE & MAIL: Christie, Shoalts & Seguin notes "the new realities of the hockey industry": "Quebec City has the lowest family income of any city with an NHL franchise and operates in the smallest urban area of any team in the league with the smallest number of head offices. ... Only Quebec's passion for hockey -- and perhaps Aubut's ego -- were large enough for the [NHL]" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/26). TORONTO SUN: Al Strachan writes the Nordiques had become "a means of maximizing returns for an integrated corporate structure." But George Cross blames apathy: "Fans in Winnipeg rallied around the team when it appeared it was heading for Minnesota. The sale of the Nordiques hardly resulted in a whimper" (TORONTO SUN, 5/26). OTTAWA CITIZEN: Anne McIlroy calls allowing the Nords to leave "one of the few things Premier Jacques Parizeau has done right lately" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 5/26). Hamilton SPECTATOR: John Kernaghan bashes corporate ownership: "That, in sum, is hockey now. It's marketing strategies and corporate alliances, not guts, glory and passion" (Hamilton SPECTATOR, 5/26). U.S. REAX: In L.A., Helene Elliott examines the NHL's weaker franchises, while also noting the league's expansion plans. Elliott asks: "By  ... will the economic pinch have endangered the league's medium-sized markets, which are the NHL's backbone?" (L.A. TIMES, 5/26). In Philadelphia, Flyers President Bobby Clarke criticized club owners in general "who are too committed to making money." Clarke: "It's become blackmail. They say, 'Build me a building. Pay for my losses or I'm leaving.' I think the business is still screwed up" (Gary Miles, PHILADELPHIA ENQUIRER, 5/26).